Supervisors battle property advocates on ag ordinance

November 29, 2012

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors is trying to finalize revisions to a contentious “ag cluster” ordinance before Debbie Arnold replaces Jim Patterson in January. [Tribune]

Proposed changes to the ordinance make it more difficult for rural landowners to build houses on properties zoned as agricultural and direct development closer to urban areas. The issue pits the environmentalist board majority against property rights advocates in the county.

During the first board hearing on the ag cluster revisions, numerous speakers protested the proposed ordinance, describing it as an unjust taking of land. The supervisors decided to postpone the hearing until December 4, and one now claims that the Coalition of Labor Agriculture and Business is trying to filibuster a vote.

COLAB representative Mike Brown, who opposes the ordinance, has requested several times that the board notify all individuals who have property affected by the ag cluster revisions. The board has refused to do so, choosing instead to run a newspaper ad about the hearing.

In response, COLAB has requested in its weekly newsletter that concerned citizens attend the December 4 hearing and bring five friends.

“It sounds like they’re trying to filibuster,” Supervisor Bruce Gibson told the Tribune. “That’s not going to work.”

Brown has also requested that the board let people who spoke at the initial November 13 hearing speak again next week. The board has refused to do so and, after Brown made the request during general public comment on November 20, Patterson responded by saying that COLAB has asked people to bring five friends on December 4.

Patterson, who did not allow Brown a follow-up comment, told the Tribune that the board will complete work on the ordinance before the year’s final three meeting are over.

“It’s not that complicated,” Patterson said. “We’re just trying to plug a few holes. All we’re doing is making a few changes.”

One such change limits ag cluster development to within two miles of a designated urban area. The current ordinance allows ag clusters within five miles from urban areas.

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This is much the same as when Hill first got on the Board and the three “conservative” members were trying to give part of the a piece of San Luis Obispo County to Santa Barbara County where it could be developed more easily while they still had the majority. Opponents told their supporters to attend and bring 5 of their friends to talk them out of that mistake too, and at the time called it an abuse of power.

That is the beauty of democracy. And, in that instance, the weight of public objection convinced the out-going majority to refrain from ignoring the will expressed by the public in the election. Will this outgoing majority do the same?

I believe the supervisors are trying to stop North County being impacted by the kind of corrupt practices shown in the movie “Chinatown.”

Property near Paso Robles is being snapped up, and immediately attempts start to get a commitment for a well permit. This is being done as a type of “water mining”: where water sucked up from the Paso Robles aquifer will be used to benefit corporate interests in other areas and other countries, particularly China.

Water is the new diamond. Once the well permit is granted and a well is struck, the price of the property greatly increases.

These foreign corporate interests want to take our local water and leave us with the clean-up AND the costs of having to import or otherwise provide potable water to the residents who live locally.

This is a very smart and bold move the BOS is taking, and it will protect our water interests in the future.

And some of you are griping about it? Wake up.

Mary, You usually make sense even if people don’t always agree with you. But HOW are “corporate interests in other areas and other countries, particularly China” going to steal water from the Paso aquifer? What are the going to do with it? Ship it overseas in oil tankers?

You are correct on China buying up water as they are doing it in Japan. But I fear this will cost locals far more then China. In atascadero I believe the permit for a new well is arounnd 30,000,00$ now

While most understand the charter of government to best serve their public, why would gov set up the public so that it will require funding to unravel bad policy? These meetings cost and justify more gov expenses. I say,” Go home, have a Holiday and a Happy New Year”!

How can Gibson even vote on this since he owns agricultural land within the area being discussed? This could have a direct effect on his land values.

I think the new inheritance tax law will kill family farms… then Gibson and Patterson are just working to finish them off.

Agenda 21? Sounds about right. Especially if they don’t even know that’s why they’re doing it, but rather think it’s some sustainable/green thing. Who knows.

What I see is chair Gibson changing the public comment rules to suit his agenda. This is the low-hanging fruit to get it overturned in the court system. The guy’s a loose cannon.

Whoops. I am moving too fast this morning. Outgoing chair Patterson is playing loose with the rules. Not Gibson.

Well, Gibson probably is too, but the illegal silencing of the public commenters seems to be Patterson’s gig.

Patterson as well as Hill and Gibson.. We are only serfs of their kingdom. They are the dictators of the County, the pimps that want it all, when they want it, and how they want it and it doesn’t matter who it hurts, whether it is right, legal or just. .

Gibson is playing fast with his pants. I don’t think Patterson is playing fast with the rules. I think the BOS has thought this one out pretty thoroughly, and it is the only way they can protect locals’ water interests for the future.